There’s a place for 100% fruit juice in the diets of young children, national health organizations declare

A new joint statement supported by four national health and nutrition organizations recognizes that 100% fruit juice, such as 100% orange juice, may serve as an important contributor to fruit intake that provides nutritional benefits to young children.

The statement released Wednesday by Healthy Eating Research, a national program of the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, is supported by the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP), American Heart Association, Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics and the American Academy of Pediatric Dentistry.

The statement provides guidance to parents concerning beverage consumption for children age 5 and under. While the recommendations recognize that it is ideal for young children to meet daily fruit requirements by eating fresh, canned, or frozen forms of fruit, for some families 100% fruit juice may be “an important component of meeting daily fruit recommendations, and thus, achieving a healthy eating pattern.”

Further, for some children not able to consume fresh, canned or frozen fruit, “consuming a combination of fruit and 100% fruit juice is preferred to not meeting daily fruit intake goals.” It is recommended that parents provide primarily water and plain milk to young children and 100% fruit juice should be served in moderation with no more than 4 ounces a day for children 1 to 3 years old and no more than 6 ounces a day for children 4 to 5 years old. The guidance states that when consumed in moderation, 100% fruit juice does not appear to promote excess weight in younger children. It is recommended that parents avoid serving flavored milks, plant milks, toddler milks, sugar-sweetened beverages, beverages with low-calorie sweetener and caffeinated drinks.

This is the first time these organizations have made a unified statement regarding beverage consumption for younger children.